Puslapio vaizdai
[ocr errors]

but with regard to Helen, the word holds only true in the former fenfe. I go on with other examples:

Effe nihil dicis quicquid petis, improbe Cinna
Si nil, Cinna, petis, nil tibi, Cinna, nego.

Martial, 1. 3. epigr. 61.

Jocondus geminum impofuit tibi, Sequana, pontem ; Hunc tu jure potes dicere pontificem.

N. B. Jocondus was a monk.


Chief Juftice. Well! the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.

Falstaff. He that buckles him in my belt cannot live in lefs.

Chief Juftice. Your means are very flender, and your wafte is great.

Falstaff. I would it were otherwise: I would my means greater, and my wafte flenderer.


Second part, Henry IV. a. 1. fc. 5.

Celia. I pray you bear with me, I can go no further. Clown. For my part, I had rather bear with you than bear you: yet I fhould bear no cross if I did bear you; for I think you have no money in your purse.

As you like it, act 2. fc. 4.

He that impofes an oath makes it,
Not he that for convenience takes it.
Then how can any man be said,
To break an oath he never made?

Hudibras, part 2. canto 2.


The feventh fatire of the first book of Horace, is

purposely contrived to introduce at the close a

[ocr errors]

moit execrable pun. Talking of fome infamous wretch whose name was Rex Rupilius,

Perfius exclamat, Per magnos, Brute, deos te
Oro, qui reges confueris tollere, cur non

Hunc regem jugulas? Operum hoc, mihi crede, tuorum


Though playing with words is a mark of a mind at eafe, and disposed to any fort of amufement, we must not thence conclude, that playing with words is always ludicrous. Words are fo intimately connected with thought, that if the fubject be really grave, it will not appear ludicrous even in this fantastic drefs. I am, however, far from recommending it in any serious performance on the contrary, the difcordance between the thought and expreffion, must be difagreeable; witnefs the following specimen.

He hath abandoned his phyficians, Madam, under whofe practices he hath perfecuted time with hope: and finds no other advantage in the procefs, but only the lofing of hope by time.

All's well that ends well, act. 1. fc. 1.

K. Henry. O my poor kingdom, fick with civil blows! When that my care could not with-hold thy riots,

What wilt thou do when riot is thy care?

Second part, K. Henry IV.

If any one fhall obferve, that there is a third fpecies of wit, different from those mentioned, confifting in founds merely, I am willing to give it place. And indeed it must be admitted, that many of Hudibras's double rhymes come under the definition of wit given in the beginning of this chapter: they are ludicrous, and their fingularity occafions fome degree of furprise. Swift is not lefs fuccefsful than Butler in this fort of wit; witness the following inftances: Goddefs Boddice. Pliny Nicolini.

[ocr errors]

Chariots. Mitre - Nitre.


Ifcariots Dragon-Suf

A repartee may happen to be witty but it cannot be confidered as a fpecies of wit; because there are many repartees extremely fmart, and withal extremely ferious. I give the following example. A certain petulant Greek, objecting to Anacharfis that he was a Scythian: True, fays Anacharfis, my country difgraces me, but you difgrace your country. This fine turn gives surprife; but it is far from being ludicrous.






TIEWING man as a fenfitive being, and perceiving the influence of novelty upon him, would one fufpect that custom has an equal influence? and yet our nature is equally fufceptible of both; not only in different objects, but frequently in the fame. When an object is new, it is inchanting: familiarity renders it indifferent; and cuftom, after a longer familiarity, makes it again defireable. Human nature, diverfified with many and various fprings of action, is wonderfully, and, indulging the expreffion, intricately conftructed.

Custom hath fuch influence upon many of our feelings, by warping and varying them, that we must attend to its operations, if we would be acquainted with human nature. This fubject, in itself obfcure, has been much neglected; and a complete analysis of it would be no eafy task. I pretend only to touch it curforily; hoping, however, that what is here laid down, will dispose more diligent inquirers to attempt further difcoveries.

Cuftom refpects the action, habit the actor. By custom we mean, a frequent reiteration of


the fame act; and by habit, the effect that cuftom has on the mind or body. This effect may be either active, witness the dexterity produced by cuftom in performing certain exercifes; or paffive, as when, by custom, we come to relish certain things more than we did at first. Active habits come not under the prefent undertaking; and therefore I confine myself to thofe that are paffive.


This fubject is intricate: fome pleasures are fortified by custom; and yet custom begets familiarity, and confequently indifference in many instances, fatiety and disgust are the confequences of reiteration: again, though cuftom blunts the edge of diftrefs and of pain; yet the want of any thing to which we have been long accustomed, is a fort of torture. A clue to guide us through all the intricacies of this labyrinth, would be an acceptable prefent.

Whatever be the caufe, it is an established fact, that we are much influenced by cuftom: it hath an effect upon our pleasures, upon our actions, and even upon our thoughts and fentiments. Habit makes no figure during the vivacity of youth in middle age it gains ground; and in

* If all the year were playing holidays,

To fport would be as tedious as to work:

But when they feldom come, they wish'd-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.


First part, Henry IV. act 1. Sc. 3.



« AnkstesnisTęsti »